The Big Ideas

There’s a shortlist of very big ideas that encroach on many different disciplines at once – economics, politics, law, science, morality, and of course farming practice. They include matters such as yield – how much of any one crop or animal do we really need? Are present shortfalls caused primarily – or ever – simply by lack of yield, or inability to yield? Crucial too is the ever-present concept of “efficiency”. What does it mean in practice – energy in versus food energy out? Money in versus money out? Or again, much hangs on the distinction between traditional farm practice and industrial farming – but what really are the differences? What can the know-how acquired through industrial farming contribute to Enlightened Agriculture? Is it plausible that the forays into industrialized methods these past 150 years have simply been a diversion? What exactly is “agroecology”? And so on.

We have lumped such issues together under “fundamentals” simply because there is no particular niche that can properly contain them. As always, we will urge specialists to write for us and also encourage everyone else to contribute.

Organic farming and feeding the world – new report

Published in Nature Communications in November 2017, this article on strategies for feeding the world organically is remarkably optimistic.  Abstract as follows: “Organic agriculture is proposed as a promising approach to … Read on

What is Agroecology? Why does is matter?

A new report from the FAO of a regional symposium held last year in Budapest on agroecology for food security and nutrition sets out the important concepts of agroecology and … Read on

Guide to Cooperative Farming: Frameworks for Farming Together

Written for the Greenhorns, “a non-traditional grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and a diversity of collaborators”, this is a comprehensive guide to farming together — setting up … Read on

New Leaf Project

This piece comes from Chas Griffin’s book: More Scenes from a Smallholding (2006). His proposal to take over a large barley farm in East Anglia and convert it into a … Read on

Cooperative and Alternative Food System Initiatives: Special July issue of the JAFSCD

This special edition of the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development (Vol 4 Issue 3, Spring 2014) has been made “freely available — no subscription needed! — through … Read on

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